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Speegle, Boone nominated for award

The second pair of nominees for the 2009 Athlete of the Year award come from Demopolis High School. One is an accomplished senior quarterback whose character and leadership in and away from the game have been evident on the football field, the basketball court and the baseball diamond. The other is a driven senior workhorse whose game on the baseball and football fields is much more boisterous than his personality off them.

The tandem represents the second of seven sets of nominees to come from each high school in Marengo County.

The Times will announce the winner of the 2009 Athlete of the Year award in its May 23 edition.

Shelby Speegle

– Class: Senior

-Sports: Baseball and football

– Athlete on Athlete: “”He’s a great teammate. He does everything he’s asked to do by his coaches. He comes to work everyday and does what he’s got to do. He makes a heck of a lot of difference. He’s our No. 1 pitcher. He definitely has a huge presence in the outfield. He’s a guy that you know you can count on everyday.” — DHS football and baseball player Jacob Kerby

-Coach Speak: “He’s what every coach wants in a kid. You don’t have to worry about his behavior. You don’t worry about him academically. You don’t have to worry about where his mind if going to be on game day. When you’re thinking about types of players you want on your team, that’s Shelby Speegle. He’s got all the tools to be a great player. When you look at five-tool players, he’s got all of it. He’s a step ahead all the time because he’s thinking. You could take nine Shelby Speegles and go play anybody. I don’t know a better testimony to his work ethic than him being back for the first game of the season 10 weeks removed from an ACL tear. It’s amazing to me. He kept saying he would do it, but I didn’t see any way. That work ethic carries over to his game. He’s everything you want in a ball player.”— DHS head baseball coach Ben Ramer

-The Skinny: His numbers are impressive, but do little to encompass the value of the Tigers’ No. 1 pitcher, starting centerfielder and cleanup hitter. The senior southpaw’s repertoire includes a knee-buckling curveball, plus speed, a high-contact bat and a strong throwing arm. But his greatest tool is his determination. A First-Team All-Gridiron selection, Speegle tore his ACL in the final game of the Tigers’ football season and promised quickly thereafter he would be on the mound for opening day of the baseball season. As a testament to his character, he kept his word, toeing the rubber for game one of the year against Jackson and finding himself somewhere in the lineup everyday since. With a hefty academic scholarship to the University of Alabama in tow, the DHS workhorse now has only to decide what he wants to do next. Whatever it is, smart money says he’ll find success at it.

Rick Boone

-Class: Senior

– Sports: Football, basketball and baseball

– Athlete on Athlete: “He’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever had. And he’s one of the best friends I’ve had too. He’s one of those natural born leaders. He doesn’t say much. He’ll probably be one of the most successful people out of our school because it is hard not to like him. He’s smart. He’s got good common sense.” — DHS football and baseball player Morgan LeCroy

-Coach Speak: “That’s probably the biggest thing we’re going to miss with Rick is his leadership and his character. Rick understood that as a quarterback here at Demopolis, he was going to be scrutinized and he never once wavered. That says a lot about a young man’s character. Extremely strong work ethic. He works extremely hard in the weight room, in practice and on the field. He’s got talent, but he’s never relied just on talent. He’s always worked hard with what God gave him to get better.” — DHS head football coach Tom Causey

-The Skinny: Boone faced tremendous scrutiny when the Tigers were 1-4. But the senior signal-caller showed a maturity beyond his years as he proved unflappable the rest of the way while guiding Demopolis to a seven-game winning streak and the cusp of a semi-final playoff berth.

The Tiger quarterback put together a stellar individual campaign that saw him pass for 1,434 yards and 18 touchdowns. He also ran for 708 yards and nine touchdowns while earning First-Team All-Gridiron honors and a scholarship to continue his playing days at the University of West Alabama. Those numbers also helped him get a nod to the upcoming North-South All-Star game. Additionally, Boone logged significant minutes as a point guard on the DHS basketball team and is currently doing his best to help the Tiger baseball team make some noise as it heads into the first round of the playoffs.